"Colo. lawmakers debate death penalty repeal," is the AP report, via KKCO-TV.
Abolishing the death penalty in Colorado will get an initial vote in the state House as debate on the emotional issue begins in the Legislature.
The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on the bill Tuesday.
There are three men on Colorado's death row, but the bill would not affect them if it becomes law because it can't apply to current cases. That means the case of the Aurora theater shooting suspect will also not be affected by the proposal.
One Colorado lawmaker is proposing a countermeasure to put the repeal question to voters.
"Rep. Fields introduces death penalty proposal, competing measure up Tuesday," is the Denver Post report written by Kurtis Lee.
The debate over Colorado’s death penalty is at the forefront this week at the state Capitol, and the issue has Democratic lawmakers divided.
On Monday afternoon, Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, introduced a measure to have voters decide in 2014 whether to repeal the death penalty. Last Friday, two House Democrats, Reps. Claire Levy of Boulder, and Jovan Melton of Aurora, introduced a bill to allow lawmakers to repeal capital punishment. It will be heard Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.
“The citizens should weigh-in on this,” said Fields. “I don’t personally believe this is up to lawmakers to decide.”
Her son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe, were gunned down while driving in Aurora in 2005. The two were set to testify in a pending murder case. Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray are both on Colorado’s death row for their involvement in the murders.
The article notes that Colorado's last execution was in 1997.
"Death penalty repeal effort up for first hearing Tuesday," is by Eli Stokols for KDVR-TV.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear House Bill 1264 at 1:30 Tuesday.
FOX31 Denver was first to report that Democrats were introducing the bill last Friday, just as the most controversial gun control measures received their final votes and headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.
Reps. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, are the prime sponsors of the bill.
Some Republicans are likely to support the legislation, mostly for religious reasons, FOX31 Denver has confirmed.
“For me, it’s religious conviction. I’m a practicing Catholic and I understand what the Church teaches on the issue,” said Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson. “Secondly, if you look at statistics, it’s arbitrary and capricious and it’s time we look at repealing it.
“It costs about a million dollars a year and it tends to be used mostly on the minority population.”
"State lawmakers to consider death penalty repeal," by Andy Koen at KOAA-TV.
State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would repeal the death penalty in Colorado. House Bill 1264 would replace all current death penalty sentences to life without parole. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill later this week.
State Senator Lucia Guzman, (D) Denver, sponsored the bill in the Senate. She says the punishment is unevenly applied from courtroom to courtroom.
"The decisions that are made by DA's across the state vary a great deal," Guzman said.
Furthermore, she believes the lengthy and expensive appeals process have made the death sentence unnecessary.
"It's not fair to the families; they're not able to bring closure in that sense," Guzman said.
However, State Representative Rhonda Fields, (D) Aurora, disagrees. Two of the three men currently on death row, Robert Ray and Sir Mario Owens, were convicted of murdering her son in 2005 to keep him from testifying at a murder trial.
"Lawmakers plan to discuss death penalty," by Gina Esposito at KJCT-TV.
Colorado lawmakers are deciding whether or not to repeal the death penalty. The bill has failed to pass the house in the past, but there are indications that could change.
There are currently three men on death row and James Holmes' name could be added to that list for his alleged role in the Aurora Theater Massacre.
The Colorado Legislature is poised for the debate again. A group of Democrats last week proposed a bill to repeal capital punishment in Colorado; and although Democrats are the majority in both houses of the Legislature, there is no guarantee that they will all line up behind the bill or that Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign it should it pass.
In fact, one notable House Democrat, Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora, opposes the repeal and has said publicly that she thinks voters should decide the issue.
Fields’ son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe, both of them CSU graduates, were gunned down on an Aurora street in 2005, just days before they were scheduled to testify in a murder trial. Their murderers, who I am choosing not to name, also sit on death row.I respect Fields’ stance on this issue, but I also see lots of reasons why Colorado should join the 17 states that have already abolished capital punishment: the huge cost involved in endless legal proceedings and appeals; the reality of false convictions and judicial errors or misconduct; the disproportionate number of people of color who await execution; the way it sanctions and perpetuates violence; the way the long delay between the crime and the execution undermines any deterrence factor; the way it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment; the way it erodes our humanity and our moral authority.
Earlier coverage of the Colorado repeal legislation begins at the link.